Who makes the holidays happen in your family and life? Lately, I’ve been a bit hyper-aware that it’s women. Most of my life, it was my mom who made things happen. She was the one who shopped and did the stockings, and decorated. We’d usually get some See’s candy and those Lifesavers storybooks. Does anyone remember those? I didn’t particularly care for them, but it was part of what Christmas was in our house.
When I was REALLY young, we’d be at my grandmother’s house in Kansas. My aunt and uncle were cool intellectual types and would get us matching jammies from someplace chic like Bloomingdale’s. This is what I was told, not what I remember!
When my parents first moved to NC in 1983, they’d give a big party at our house before Christmas. My mom had help, but I know it was stressful and hard for her, being very introverted and somewhat socially phobic. Later in life when my mom got sick, my dad was pretty good about holidays and birthdays. He liked giving gifts, and he liked Christmas. While it was stressful for us to go back there to visit every year, I miss it now that he’s gone. Somehow, he got into Tiffany (!) and I have several nice necklaces from there, mainly the Elsa Peretti heart necklace. I saw this necklace recently and know that if Dad was alive, he’d get it for me for Christmas.
What I notice being out and about is that it’s usually women who are shopping and wearing the holiday sweaters and jewelry. Preparing for family and work gifts, for the meals. The men are usually tagging along, pushing the cart or looking lost (or in some cases, annoyed). I told my husband several times he has it easy. I’m the one who gives gifts to our vet, my doctor, my hairdresser, I’m preparing cash for our pet-sitter while we’re gone to San Diego and remembered to pick up some nice coffee and a candle for his brother and SIL (whom we are staying with).
This time of year can be fun and also difficult. So much pressure if you let it. I try not to. I try to plan during the year and keep it simple for the few people I do give something to. I’ve been sad a lot this year, missing my dad. I was with my sisters last night – my older sister wanted us to get together, so we went over to their house. KT decided to make veggie chili so he’d have something to eat, and it ended up being the main course. I brought mini-bundt cakes for dessert. Although I’ve said I’d prefer a gift certificate rather than “stuff” my sister got me a bunch of things that while thoughtful, aren’t what I’d use or need. I’m trying to clean stuff out, not accumulate more! I gave both of them gift cards, a book, and a shirt.
My sisters are gathering again for Christmas. My aunt (mom’s sister) has made a big deal of flying out here from Indianapolis for the past couple of years to spend the day with us. My cousin lives in LA so they fly there and then drive up. In 2014, we were all together and my aunt asked if there was anything she could do to help my mom. I said, well, you could go visit her. My aunt drives to SC to see my cousin a lot so goes right by where my mom lives, and travels a lot for fun. She said she would but she never has. It has really bugged me for a while, and I’m working hard not to let it.But it doesn’t mean I want to spend time with her or my cousin. My cousin and uncle drink too much and they have very different political views. I’m at the point in my life where I don’t feel the need to spend time with people, even family, if I don’t feel like it.
So I’m hoping to get some rest over the next few days, read, and go for some walks. I hope all of you are able to have the holiday(s) that you wish for. Peace and light.